Why should I take the PHE program at King’s?
The PHE major aims to deepen students’ understanding of contemporary public life and equip them to live out their faith in service of their neighbours. It allows students to gain a multidisciplinary perspective while retaining significant disciplinary depth. The PHE is unique to King’s and will lead to a wide variety of career options and opportunities for further study.
What is “public life”?
Public life happens when different parts of society (such as government, businesses, churches, non-profits, social movements, community organizations, and media) come together to make decisions about issues of common concern. For example, a church advocating for a change in social assistance policies; a labour union negotiating an agreement with business owners; a charity working with a school to set up a community garden; a government body making a ruling about Canadian content on a radio station; and a newspaper publishing articles that spark debate on funding for First Nations schools are all examples of public life.
What kinds of careers can the PHE program prepare me for?
The PHE degree prepares students for a wide variety of careers, ranging from politics to business to social service and beyond. Please see our Careers page for more information, and check out career-related stories from some of our graduates.
Will the PHE program prepare me for graduate school?
Yes! PHE graduates have been accepted into a variety of graduate programs, in areas such as Public Policy, Law, International Affairs, Community Development, International Development, Rural Planning & Development, Journalism, and Contemporary Ethics. The PHE major will be especially attractive to students interested in interdisciplinary graduate programs. With careful program choices, students will also be able to pursue graduate studies in one of the PHE disciplines.
Where did the PHE idea come from?
The PHE at King’s is modeled after the acclaimed and widely recognised "Philosophy, Politics and Economics" (PPE) major offered at Oxford University, UK.
How does King’s offer a uniquely Christian perspective in the PHE program?
The PHE program explores today’s complicated and globalised world through classroom studies, discussions, and hands-on experiences. Students are challenged to articulate the underlying dilemmas, questions, and problems in contemporary public life, and to explore how a biblically informed vision of life can open up alternative ways of thinking about these issues. As a Christian university, King’s wants to develop leaders who don’t park their faith as they enter the public realm, and wants to encourage graduates "to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God" (Micah 6:8).
How does the program work?
All PHE students take introductory courses in each of the three disciplines: politics, history and economics. You then will take at least six senior-level courses in two of the disciplines, and two senior-level courses in the third. Your choice of courses is guided by a number of themes, which include International Studies, Atlantic Studies, and Public Policy. For more details, please see our PHE Major page.
Do I really have to take economics?
All PHE students take at least four economics courses. There are good reasons for this! Public life is unavoidably intertwined with, and sometimes even determined by, economic issues. The basic economic questions, “who does what?” and “who gets what?” are part of all public decision-making. So, informed participation in public life requires preparation in economics – if only to avoid being fooled by misleading economic arguments!
Therefore, we offer a variety of economics courses to choose from. They range from basic introduction, to particular areas of interest (such as international development and ecological economics), to more technical theory-based courses that form the basis for policies, to those that focus on a philosophical and historical view of economic ideas. Throughout, we focus on applying economic ideas to real-life issues, and small class sizes allow us to use interactive and hands-on learning methods.
Does the PHE offer opportunities to study abroad or pursue student internships?
Yes! Many PHE students take the opportunity to study abroad or experience an internship in a related field. Please see our Off-Campus Opportunities page for more details, or read stories from our graduates and current students.
Is financial aid available for PHE students?
King’s offers many scholarships, bursaries and awards to students. Awards directed at PHE students in particular include the Christian Credit Union Ltd. Scholarship, Gerald and Joanne Voogd Scholarship, Herman and Harriet Wierenga Family Memorial Scholarship, Peter Mos Scholarship in History, Robert N. Thompson Memorial Scholarship in Political Science, and DGL Christian Service Bursary. See this page for more information.
I have more questions about the PHE program; who can I ask?
You are welcome to contact any of the Politics, History or Economics faculty with your questions.